China has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to suspend its case against Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, "for the time being".
"China expresses its regret and worry over the arrest warrant for the Sudan president issued by the International Criminal Court," Qin Gang, the foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement on the ministry's website on Thursday.
"China is opposed to any action that could interfere with the peaceful situation in Darfur and Sudan."
The ICC on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's western Darfur region.
It is the first ever warrant for a sitting head of state.
Sudan rejected the ICC move, describing it as part of a "neo-colonialist" plan.
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum for a greater share of resources and power.
Qin also urged on the UN Security Council to "respect calls by the African Union, Arab League and Non-Aligned Movement ... and call on the International Criminal Court not to hear this case for the time being".
China and the African Union have said that an indictment of al-Bashir could destabilise the region, worsen the Darfur conflict and threaten a peace deal between north Sudan and the semi-autonomous south.
China buys the majority of Sudan's oil and is one of the African nation's most important trading partners.
It has also sent troops to the Darfur region as part of a UN peacekeeping mission there.